Ragnar Chicago Recap

Well, let’s see. I have to admit that my weekend at Ragnar Relay Chicago was kind of a blur. That can happen when you run, cheer and live in a van for 30 hours. This was our home sweet home for the duration.

We took off from Madison, WI at 9:30 am on Friday. Here’s the start line.

I was runner number 5 on our relay team, and my first run didn’t come up until early afternoon. I ran 6.4 miles on my first leg, much of which was on the Glacial Drumlin trail. Pros to running on a trail: no worries about traffic, gravel surface if you’re into that. Cons to running on a trail: it’s tough for the team to find a place to cheer on the runner, chipmunks with a death wish that keep running into the trail. I thought several times that I was going to step on a chipmunk, but they always got out of the way just in time. One of my teammates did step on a snake. Ew. On a bright note, that was the fastest 6 miles I have ever run. I’m not fast by most people’s standards, but my pace at Ragnar was 1:30 per mile faster than it had been at the Fargo Half Marathon. Yay me! 🙂

When the six of us in Van 1 had finished our first legs, we got to cheer on Van 2 and take a little break for food. We found this place, Hiway Harry’s, which claimed to be casual dining. We though, “Thank goodness,” since we were in running clothes and sweaty. It turned out to be pretty nice, but no one seemed to mind our appearance. One of the restaurant staff told us she’s a runner too and had run Ragnar Great River.

Late evening brought our second round of legs. I ran around midnight. You should see the safety gear we wear! It makes a huge difference in how visible we are. Totally worth it if it keeps us safer!

It was misting on my second run, which looked pretty crazy in my headlamp. It reminded me of snow in the headlights. My second run was 4.3 miles and about the same pace as the first run. This picture was actually taken from the van, but it’s about what it looked like for me with my headlamp, too.

After our van got through our second legs, we got to get a little rest. That exchange was at a church, and the church generously allowed runners to crash on the floor. For free. Last year at Ragnar Great River, we paid a few dollars to sleep on the floor at a school. Worth every penny. A free place to sleep? Heaven! I suppose we slept about an hour, maybe two, then we had to head out to meet our Van 2 runners and begin our third and last round.

My third run was 2.9 miles. How lucky was I? I got to taper throughout the weekend, with my shortest run at the end! Wonderful! I thought maybe I could pick up the pace for such a short run, but fatigue must have factored in. My pace for all three runs was within 6 seconds of each other. I was completely done with my legs by 8 am Saturday, and after that I just had the fun of cheering my teammates on.

When Van 1 got through all our third runs, we went into the YMCA at that exchange and found out to our delight that they would allow us to shower. Free! Did I say the sleep was heaven? Well, the shower was even better! It felt amazing to be done and clean. 🙂

We had quite the dramatic end to our race. Our group, Van 1, went to cheer at the last exchange and then headed to the finish line. We were in Chicago, not terribly familiar with Chicago, and we entered the GPS coordinates to find the finish line easy-peasy. Well, GPS took us to the Lincoln Park Zoo. We were texting back and forth with Van 2 and found that our runner was expected to finish in about 15 minutes. We didn’t know if we could make it! That would be a disappointment. Well, we managed to find the finish, park and we all started running toward the finish line. As we were running across the grass, our last runner comes along beside us on a path and called out to us. Of course she had no idea that we had gotten lost and just called out hello to her team. We all ran along with her and Van 2 joined us all as we crossed the finish line together. Whew! We made it! Sweet relief.

Here’s the team finish. That’s me with the red arrow.

We went back to our hotel and took a nap, then we headed out for pizza. When you’re in Chicago, you have to have pizza, right? Again, that’s me with the red arrow.

After dinner, some of us went back to the hotel to sleep and some of us headed out for a little more fun. We planned to go to Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano place, but there were people lined up down the block and we didn’t care to wait. We went into Harry Caray’s for a drink then headed back to sleep. We got a couple miles of walking in while we went from place to place. I think that was good for our legs, kind of a cool down. We hit the road for the long drive home Sunday morning.

It was a blast! If you didn’t read Monday’s post, you should. 🙂 I shared a video about running a 200 mile relay. So funny!!

Certainly I’ve left out a lot of details. How can you summarize 200 miles and 30 hours of running fun?

Oh, and over $15,000 was raised for Back on My Feet. Not bad!

I hope you had a good weekend too!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s